A La Carte

A La CarteA La Carte is a quick, enjoyable novel by Tanita Davis.  In it we get to know Lainey, a 17 year-old African American girl who aspires to be a professional chef.  She dreams of having her own cooking show and loves spending time in the kitchen of her mom’s restaurant and in her own home kitchen where she finds both solace and a creative outlet in the preparation of food.  She’s forced to confront real life issues and struggles when her childhood best-friend Sim, and secret crush, gets into some serious trouble and runs away, asking for Lainey’s help (both in money and secrecy) to help him get away.  She has to deal with the consequences of her choices and the change in her relationship with her mom and others as a result of lying to help Sim.

Lainey is a likable character; she’s talented, generous, optimistic, and somewhat naive. Her mother is believable and real, as is Lainey’s grandmother. The strong, loving women characters add to the story and provide positve, powerful role models for Lainey.  Davis builds tension well, and also creates moments of relief and positive things happening, which helps to somewhat balance out the increasing angst in the book. The book is peppered with recipes from Lainey’s notebooks, which I intend to try – some of them look very tasty!  The ending, though meant to be uplifting, felt a bit forced and things were wrapped up a little too neatly. I was glad that Lainey eventually stood up to Sim, but in the end I felt a little unsatisfied – like eating a good meal without a yummy dessert.

  • Posted by Cori

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *